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Number: 3622
Continent: Africa
Region: Central
Place Names: Angola
Year of Origin: 1901
Language: Portuguese
Publish Origin: Lisbon
Height: 188.0
Width: 164.0
Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Large
Scale: 1 : 1,000,000
Color Type: Outline Color
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Engraver: Lithographia da Companhia Nacional Editora
Revista Portugal em Africa
Other Contributors:
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Notes: [Source Dasa Pahor] 2 sheets, north half and south half; Lithograph, of 8 sheets joined into 2 parts of 4 sheets each, each part dissected into 40 sections and mounted upon contemporary linen; featuring extensive period manuscript additions in red pen and pencil; with contemporary marbled endpapers bearing printed titles ?North? and ?South? ; Extremely Rare Wall-map (approx. 51/2 x 51/2 Feet) that represents the largest, most detailed and most accurate general map of Angola made in the wake of the ?Scramble for Africa?, when Portugal aggressively sought to develop the colony?s railways, mines and plantations with the aid of foreign capital; commissioned by the leading Portuguese overseas missionary society, the Instituto Superior Missionario Do Espirito Santo; based upon the most advanced recent surveys executed and collected by the Comissao de Cartografia das Coloonias; published in Lisbon ? the present example featuring fascinating manuscript editions (circa 1905) relating to a major British land investment scheme. The the largest and most detailed and accurate general map of Angola made in the generation following the ?Scramble for Africa?, whereupon Portugal gained international title to a large new colonial entity in southwestern Africa that extended far into the interior of the continent. Portugal then proceeded, with the aid of foreign capital, to rapidly develop the colony?s infrastructure and economic resources. The map was commissioned by the Instituto Superior Missionário Do Espírito Santo, the leading Portuguese missionary society in Africa, which was often on the vanguard of ?civilizing? Angola. The map is predicated upon recent advanced topographical surveys variously conducted by the Portuguese crown; private land concession holders and railway companies; mapping all collected and carefully edited by the Comissão de Cartografia das Colónias, the official state institute that oversaw the mapping of Lusitanian overseas possessions. The present example of the map is extraordinary, as it features manuscript additions, dating from around 1905, relating to major (likely British) land concessions and economic development schemes near the coasts of south-western Angola, between Benguela and Mo?medes. On this colossal map, mounted upon two giant sheets of linen (labelled ?North? and ?South? on the verso), all Angola unfolds in unprecedented scope and detail at scale of 1:1,000,000 (1 inch to 16 miles, or 10 km). While the better-known coastal areas are well charted, what is most impressive is the accurate and thorough mapping of the colony?s vast interior, much of which had been recently explored by Europeans. The map reveals that the surveyors of the Comissão de Cartografia das Colónias and other agencies such as missionary societies and private enterprises had done a spectacular, almost incredible, job mapping this territory in the barely fifteen years that it had come into Portuguese possession. The coasts are shown predicated upon the best Portuguese and British naval surveys, while all rivers, even hundreds of kilometres inland, are carefully delineated, while the numerous mountains and plateaus are expressed through hachures (with many spot heights in metres provided). Critically, the map features the names of dozens of tribal territories, rendering it an invaluable ethnographic resource. The ?Signaes Convencionaes?, or the Legend, located in the far lower-left corner of the southern sheet, provides symbols for ?Concelho (S?e)? (county seats); ?povoa?o? (villages, whether small or important); ?miss?? (Roman Catholic missions); ?estradas e caminhos? (streets and roads); and ?fronteira? (borders). The level of detail is astounding and is a dramatic improvement upon anything that had appeared even a few years earlier. Interestingly, the map shows Angola right at the beginning of the its ?railway boom?. It depicts the in-progress line of the Luanda Railway, the first railroad in Angola, which was commenced in 1889. As shown here, by 1901, it had reached inland a considerable way from the capital Luanda and the commercial port of Lobito as far as Amabaca. Also shown, by intermittent lines, is the planned route which was to continue eastwards to Casanje. However, as it turned out, the line which was competed in 1909 as far as Malanje (424 km inland) was never continued beyond due the 1910 Portuguese Revolution and World War I. Nevertheless, the railroad was for many years a commercially successful and a vital tool of economic and social development. The map predates Angola?s two other railways, the Benguela Railway (construction commenced in 1903; the first proposed section is featured upon the present map; the line was completed to the Belgian Congo in 1929) and the Mo?medes Railway (construction commenced in 1905, completed to Menongue in 1961), which would likewise play and outsized roles in Angola?s 20th Century history. The present map would have been, given its large scale and unprecedented accuracy, of immense practical use to all persons with active interests in Angola, whether they be government officials, army officers, missionaries, scientists or businessmen/landowners (i.e. planation proprietors, railway barons, mining investors and prospectors, etc.). Indeed, the map appeared at precisely at the right time to aid the massive economic development programmes that were being promoted by the Portuguese crown, with the heavy participation of foreign capital. Importantly, the map features manuscript additions, in the English language, that seem to date from around 1905. These additions in both red pen and pencil appear in three areas. First, on the Northern section, is neat travel itinerary that leads from Lunda inland and back. Second, on the left-hand side of the Southern section, seemingly the same hand as the former, is an extensive series of annotations and additions relating to a large land grant along the coast located between the major ports of Benguela and Mo?medes. The notes explain and charts out the boundaries of the grant, while various details are given as to the locations of anchorages of named vessels, named plantations and copper mines, with some references to dates in 1904 and 1905. Also labelled are neat itinerary lines from Benguela into the northern reaches of the land grant described as ?150 Miles on foot / 15 Days?. Additionally, far into the interior of south-eastern Angola are sets of red lines, perhaps referring to another land grant of some kind (perhaps for copper mining). While we have not yet been able to identify the company that claimed the land grant between Benguela and Mo?medes, this will surely be revealed by further research. Indeed, the investor who marked the map was likely British (as the notes are in English), which is not surprising, as Britain was Portugal?s favoured source of foreign investment in its African colonies. Indeed, many, if not most of Angola?s railway and mining concessions were awarded to British subjects. The present example of the map?s British connection is further supported as its original eight sheets, which were published in Lisbon and distributed separately and unmounted, are here mounted upon linen with marbled endpapers with verso labels in English, done in the signature manner of London ateliers, such as Edward Stanford Ltd. The Story Behind the Creation of the Present Map The story behind the creation of the present map is engaging and somewhat unusual. While Portugal established itself along the coast of Angola since the foundation of S? Paulo de Loanda (Luanda) in 1575, for almost the next three centuries, its presence was limited to the coasts, while their economic activity focussed on the immensely lucrative global slave trade, to the detriment of the agrarian and mining sectors. The abolition of slavery in 1854, combined with Portugal?s severe lack of venture capital, saw the colony fall into a listless state. During the ?Scramble for Africa? in the 1870s and early 1880s, Portugal?s hold on Angola was in doubt, as its resource rich, yet undeveloped lands were coveted by other powers. Britain, while not wishing to directly control Angola, intensely feared the prospect of the region falling into the hands of one of its main rivals, and so aggressively backed Portugal?s claim to the region, even as it overruled Lisbon?s desire to gain control of a corridor across the continent connecting Angola with Mozambique. At the Berlin Conference (1885) which partitioned Africa to the various European Powers, Portugal was granted vast territories extending far into the interior of southwestern Africa, which it formally made into the colony of the Provincia da Angola in 1886. This award presented Portugal with both a great opportunity, yet an awesome challenge. Critically, the Berlin protocols required the European colonial powers to comprehensively ?civilize? their new acquisitions under the presumption that ?if they don?t use it, they will lose it [to rival powers]?. Over the succeeding years, the Portuguese crown encouraged Catholic missionaries; both Portuguese and foreign (mainly British and Belgian) railway, mining and plantations investors, as well as crown officers to undertake any and all efforts to explore, claim and modernize Angola. Critical to this grand design was cartography, as accurate detailed maps were needed in advance of development. As shown by the Comissão?s foundational map of Angola, Carta de Angola contendo indica?es de produc?oe salubridade (Lisbon, 1885), while the Portuguese had a decent knowledge of the country near the coastlines and along the courses of some major rivers, most of the vast interior was scarcely mapped at all. In fact, large tracts of the country had never even been visited by Europeans. Over the coming years, the Comissão dispatched expert field surveying teams across the country, as far they could safely reach, performing advanced systematic topographic surveys. Additionally, missionaries who were often on the vanguard of the ?civilizing? mission, produced, maps, as did railways companies, as well those who held mining concessions and major plantations. The Comissão?s cartographers in Lisbon continually took stock of the new manuscripts that arrived from Angola, selecting the best and most accurate depictions of each area to compose the first large-scale accurate general maps of each of Angola?s districts, executed to a uniform large scale of 1:1,000,000. The first production was a general map of both Angola?s southernmost jurisdictions, Carta dos Districtos de Benguella e Mossamedes (1895). This was followed by a series of four separate district maps, all published in Lisbon at the beginning of 1901, being the Districto de Loanda; Districto de Benguela; Districto de Mossamedes; and the Districto do Congo; however, the mapping of the remaining territories of Angola would not be published until three years hence, being the Carta dos Territorios de Cabinda e Malembo (Lisbon, 1904). All these maps are today extremely rare. Just as the Comissão?s four separate district maps of Luanda, Congo, Mo?medes and Benguela were rolling off the press, the Instituto Superior Missionário do Espírito Santo moved to create the present colossal work, which would become the largest and most detailed general map of Angola to date. The missionary society enjoyed a close, symbiotic relationship with the Comissão, which was more than pleased to support the endeavour. The Instituto Superior uses the information from the provincial maps, plus intelligence from their own extensive activities in the country, to fulfil this mandate. Since 1894, the Roman Catholic Church in Lisbon, spearheaded by the Instituto Superior, published the Revista Portugal em Africa (published in Lisbon by the Typographia da Casa Catholica). This monthly journal was, in addition to its express mandate of promoting the faith in Africa, a serious scientific journal containing articles on the geography, ethnology, natural wonders and economic development of the Portugal?s several African colonies; it also featured many news articles and classified advertisements of great practical interest. The Revista was mandatory reading for anyone with any involvement in Angola, and virtually all government agents, missionaries, soldiers, as well as Portuguese and foreign empresarios held subscriptions. Thus, the magazine was an ideal way for the Instituto Superior to distribute its planned monumental map of Angola. The Instituto Superior commissioned the leading Lisbon publishing house, Lithographia da Companhia Nacional Editora, which specialized in maps and sophisticated graphics, to produce a monumental map of all Angola, printed on eight numbered sheets (each approximately 46.5 x 78.5 cm). These sheets (which could be seamlessly joined, as here) were each entitled as a ?Supplemento? to the Revista Portugal em Africa, and individual sheets were serially included along with the March to July 1901 issues of the Revista (with either 1 or 2 sheets included per issue). As such, only loyal subscribers to the journal were able to complete the entire map! The present example of the map was contemporarily joined and mounted upon linen, but one can see how the separate sheets as issued appeared upon consulting the example held by the American Geographical Society Library at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: Curiously, the present map is entitled Provincia de Angola: Carta do Districto de Loanda, which implies that it only covers the District of Luanda, even though it embraces the entire territory of Angola. While a matter of conjecture, this curious detail may be due to the fact that perhaps the Instituto Superior initially intended to separately print a map of that district (as had the Comissão), but later changed its mind, going on to make a map of all of Angola in one fell swoop. The mapping made by the Comissão de Cartografia and its partners in Angola as shown on the present map (with special reference to its manuscript additions!) served as a critical aid to the railway, plantation and mining booms that utterly transformed the colony in the first half of the 20th Century. Angola transitioned from being an obscure coastal outpost of Portuguese colonialism into a global powerhouse of natural resources production. However, the country?s development was driven hard on the backs of the Angolan people, who often suffered greatly while seeing few of the benefits. During the Estado Novo dictatorship (1933-74), spearheaded by Portuguese Prime minister Ant?io de Oliveira Salazar, the colonial vice on Angola tightened. This caused the people to rebel during Angolan War of Independence (1961-74), which resulted in the country?s liberation, yet following a course down what has been a difficult path. A Note on Rarity The present map is extremely rare. This is not surprising as it was printed on fragile paper and issued in eight separate pieces along with an ephemeral publication. The only reason the present example seems to have survived is that it was soon mounted upon linen and safely folded away. We can trace 6 institutional examples of the map, held by the Arquivo Hist?ico Ultramarino (Lisbon); American Geographical Society Library (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee); British Library; National Archives U.K.; University of Florida (Gainesville); and Harvard College Library. We cannot trace any records of any other examples as having appeared on the market during the last generation. References: Arquivo Hist?ico Ultramarino (Lisbon): PT/AHU/CARTI/001/00376, cited in ARQUIVO HIST?ICO ULTRAMARINO, Arquivo Hist?ico Ultramarino: Cole?o de Cartografia Impressa - Angola [Catalogue of the Collection of Printed Maps of Angola] (Lisbon, 2017), p. 67; American Geographical Society Library, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: 348-c .L82 A-1901 / OCLC: 265303665; British Library: Cartographic Items Maps 65950.(1.) / OCLC: 265303665 / BL: 556365131; National Archives U.K.: CO 700/WestAfrica64;
Last updated: Nov 17, 2019